Understanding Political Philosophy - Progressives vs Conservatives vs Independents

I am writing this in an attempt to ascertain an understanding of the philosophic underpinnings that form your political beliefs. I think this is critical to be able to define our terms because it seems almost none of the politicians actually believe in anything, rather they just cheer their “team” (political party) and reflexively block anything the other side proposes. So, what exactly do you believe in? Given the changing political dynamics over the last forty to fifty years, it has become increasingly difficult to understand exactly what it means to be a conservative, to be a liberal, or a progressive. For most people it seems to be a cultural thing. If you were born in a certain demographic, you just vote Republican. Another person born to a different demographic with different cultural influences, will vote Democrat because thats what their parents did. Few would dispute that both political parties are significantly different than they were fifty years ago, and arguably both much worse than they once were. If we can all agree that as a country we are in deep shit at the moment, the situation begs a reexamination of basic beliefs of the role of the government, the different foreign policy and fiscal reforms that we should pursue, as well as a critical analysis of how the system broke (we can admit the system is broken, right?) and how to fix it. We should transcend partisan rhetoric and examine different and unique solutions to the pressing issues of the day.

Me, personally, I despise both political parties equally. I consider myself an Independent Libertarian. I have thought deeply about why liberals think the way they do, and why conservatives think the way they do. I think they are both flawed and incomplete in the logic generally used by proponents of either ideology. I think the wisdom we should be pursuing should transcend these labels and exist as the deep, morally consistent and timeless philosophy of individual liberty which is so ingrained in the psyche of every human being. It seems to me that one aspect of the debate (or the way it is framed) is that one either trusts the government or the corporations to solve problems. I advocate that you trust neither. I also think it is misleading to assume an inverse relationship between the two. People think that if the government were to shrink, corporate power would necessarily expand as a result and vice versa. This is profoundly wrong as I will explain shortly.

I will post my analysis of the common debate and ask for your reactions. Liberals especially. I have no love for the Republican Party, but it is Obama and the Democrats which are pursuing policies that I feel will be very destructive to our country so forgive me if I criticize the democrats a little more on this thread. Liberal Progressives, in my experience, seem to show very little regard for certain important issues which I will raise. Please try not to think of this as left vs right. Rather, think about the underlying philosophy behind your own beliefs and the ones I will be presenting.

I will now list the fundamental beliefs I hold with regards to the proper role of government in society and the system we should adopt if we are to get back to prosperity and happiness. Liberals and Progressives, especially, please tell me why this is wrong and what would happen if we adopted these policies.

  1. I believe in a small, limited Federal Government which can only pursue those functions expressly authorized in the Constitution. If we want our federal government to take on new responsibilities, the ONLY way to do this would be through the slow and deliberate process of Amending the Constitution. This would result in a decentralized, Federalist system of governance.

  2. I strongly oppose ALL forms of corporate subsidies, no bid contracts, back room deals and other influence buying that tilts the tables in favor of Corporate America. The goal of the Federal Government should be to “regulate” (not as the term is used today) the Free Market, meaning insuring that there IS a Free Market and it remains free. That means preventing anyone from gaining favors from government or “gaming the system”. That means any barriers to entry in a market by new competitors should be eliminated. The roll of our Federal Government is to enforce contracts and prosecute fraud and criminal activity to the fullest extent of the law. Maintain equal justice under the law. In addition, NOBODY should be too big to fail. Allow any and all bankruptcies to occur.

  3. I strongly oppose a Central Bank setting interest rates, and printing money endlessly. I believe we should eliminate the Federal Reserve and place its functions back under the Treasury as the Constitution demands. Furthermore, we should again back our currency by a tangible asset such as Gold. This will prevent abuse of the People’s money and protect ones savings from the debasement of inflation. Banks should go bankrupt just like any other private business. Also, we should allow competing currencies to circulate. If someone wants to exchange gold or silver certificates, for example, in a voluntary exchange for goods or services they should be allowed to. This is an additional safeguard which would prevent abusive and destructive monetary policy by our federal government.

  4. We should cut back our military drastically. We should only go to war under an official Declaration of War by the Congress as a result of irrefutable proof of a threat to national security after intense and meaningful debate. We should remove our troops from around the world and shut down all military bases becoming neutral in the disputes of other nations, not picking a side. We should have a small (not too small), effective military that is able to provide adequate defense of this country rather than aggressive, imperialistic offense perpetrated on the rest of the world. This alone would boost our popularity immensely around the world. People would once again look up to us as a model of Freedom and Justice rather than an imperialistic threat to be feared.

  5. All education should be private or a product of local community government. The Federal government should stay out of education completely and fully. Education is power. Different schools should be teaching different things. Not completely different subjects, but different curriculums, different approaches to education. If we have every public school in the country teaching basically the exact same things and the same curriculum, this doesn’t breed excellence in education and diversity of skills, it breeds mindless drones who all think alike. I think an Independent, free education system is one of the only means to ensure the prevention of tyrannical government. I mean, think about it. Why wouldn’t government schools push political propaganda on the students? Why would they teach kids how to effect meaningful lasting political change or how to effectively overthrow the political establishment? To protect liberty for the future it is imperative that the next generations are taught well.

  6. ALL abuse of our liberties should end. No more warrantless wiretapping, restoration of habeas corpus, eliminate the Patriot Act, unnecessary screening at airports, and allow all voluntary consensual activity that harms nobody.

  7. Eliminate all regulatory red tape restricting small business and harming entrepreneurship and eliminate so called “free trade” agreements like NAFTA. This would encourage a new manufacturing base to reemerge in America and allow it to take hold. It should not be more profitable to ship business overseas than to create more jobs in this country.

  8. Phase out bankrupt Federal medical entitlements such as Medicare. Encourage local governments, charity hospitals and humanitarian organizations to pick up the slack. Ensure medical freedom. Freedom to choose your own doctor, freedom to ensure your medical records stay private and confidential, freedom to choose alternative medicine and treatments for illness. No regulation of supplements and herbal products, no mandatory vaccines, no authoritarian approach to delivering medical care. Encourage market forces to lower medical prices until nearly all could afford basic medical care out of pocket, no insurance necessary. And last but not least, no crippling debt for future generations to pay off due to an insolvent medical entitlement program.

  9. The United States should leave the United Nations, the World Bank, the IMF, the Council on Foreign Relations, and all similar unelected international bodies that don’t serve the interests of the american people. We can engage in robust diplomacy with other nations on our own, rather than though an organization that has its own interests and agenda at heart. Make no mistake about it, our government should make it very clear that its loyalties lie with the American people, the Constitution and Bill of Rights and the Republic, which leads to…

  10. Make it very clear that our system of government is NOT democracy. It is a Constitutional Republic. A democracy is Tyranny by the Majority. In a democracy 51% of the population can vote away the rights of 49%. A Republic is a government run by laws, in this case the Constitution. Its primary function is to ensure equal freedom for ALL Americans, not just the majority. It is the minorities rights that need protecting.
    The reasons our country is so divided is that we have thought of liberty as two different aspects. Liberals are more likely to support Personal Liberty but favor restricting Economic Liberty. Conservatives are more likely the opposite. But mostly they both agree to restrict both personal and economic liberty. We should again see liberty as a whole worth defending in its entirety. Conservatives should see that a person should be allowed to smoke marijuana or a gay couple should be allowed to get married if they want. By the same token, Liberals should see that the Second Amendment deserves protection and abandon all notions of “Gun control” because it would infringe on this Constitutional Right. Furthermore, Liberals should see that it infringes upon the rights of Conservatives to forcefully take their money to fund a wealth transfer to some politically favored cause, frequently one that the Conservative may have a deep moral or philosophical objection to. This system of plundering and using the Government as a tool of force to take advantage of another group of Americans breeds anger and resentment. Before we provoke a new Civil War, why don’t we come together to reestablish Freedom as an indivisible whole that deserves total protection in a just and equitable society?

So many liberals object to what I have written on grounds that we need a powerful government for “the common good”. I believe this implies an immense trust in Government that is both irrational and naive. We all, I assume, hold the Founding Fathers in high esteem, right? Why is it then, that if someone today advocated much of what they themselves believed, you would consider that person a crackpot and call them names? Is that what our country has become? The other argument is that in the absence of a powerful Federal Government, the corporations would become too powerful and would abuse the public and become Tyrannical themselves. The truth is, as the Federal Government expanded in power over the last century, so too did the power of Corporations over all of us expand as well. For a corporation or business to have the power to do significant harm to the public and the country they require the cooperation of government. On their own Corporations have very little power. They can convince me to buy their product. If I don’t and others don’t as well, they fail. I can go my entire life without interacting with a corporate entity I don’t like. Not so with the Government. Free Markets are based on persuasion and voluntary associations. Governments are based on Force and imply violence to achieve their ends. Government is a continuous burden felt upon the lives of most Americans, holding them back. Corporations today are also a significant burden (like the Health Insurance companies) but they are that way as a result of government, not as a result of a Free Market. In our earlier history, corporations and businesses were not wholly ethical (many polluted, some treated their workers unfairly or otherwise acted deceptively towards the public) yet these abuses were very self contained and the harm to larger society was very minimal. Now, a few financial firms have the ability to bring our entire economy to ruin and devastate the lives of millions of Americans. Even the most revisionist historian must admit that corporate abuse was not this rampant during the late 19th century. During that time we had the largest economic expansion in world history. Unprecedented wealth was created and the lives of average american were made drastically better due to the energy and creativity unleashed in the Free Market. Adhering to the principles I laid out, we built up the United States to be the greatest country the world had ever seen. Yes, there were instances of corporate abuse and lobbying of our government even back then. Yet we had essentially a Free Market at work and a money which maintained its value. Revisionist historians like to overplay the idea of horrific corporate abuse and chaos during this time to cover for the massive expansion of federal government power that came later, yet that is quite misleading. If you compare the misconduct of corporate america vs the atrocities and harm perpetrated on the American citizens in the last century by our federal government, it is not even close, Government is a greater threat to liberty. And, contrary to what you may have heard, shrinking the government is an attack on Wall Street and corporate America. These lobbyists and white collar criminals don’t want to compete fairly in a Free Market. They want to be bailed out and protected from losses all at once. So we can restrain Government power and Corporate power in one fell swoop by simply strictly adhering to the Constitution.

Could all of you, especially liberals, tell me why I am wrong in my beliefs? Also, please tell me how you reconcile a belief in something that directly contradicts all the warnings and philosophy of the Founding Fathers and the limited Constitutional government they so valiantly fought for. So many people just say, “Well, we just don’t do things that way anymore. We are never going back, so don’t think about it.” I fail to see the logic in why the wisdom of the Founders is not applicable today. Of course times change and our Constitution was meant to adapt slowly to changing needs. I’m talking about the basic beliefs in liberty and the spirit of the philosophy which our current political establishment has rejected. When is the last time you even hear a politician campaign on individual freedom and liberty? They all run by bribing the public with free “stuff”. There is no integrity left in our government.

So, especially those who support Obama’s policies (which are 100% opposite of pretty much everything I have said here), where do I go wrong? Why is the Constitution not worth upholding? Why is circumventing the Congress through Executive power grabs, signing statements, secret bailouts by the Fed, preemptive war and everything else that first Bush and now Obama are pushing through superior in any way to the timeless wisdom of a government ruled by laws as established by great men like Washington and Jefferson? I await your responses.

It would result in a crippled, irrelevant government incapable of adapting to change, and eventually collapsing. Or a government that simply started ignoring the law in order to do its job, in which case it would likely run out of control.

Which would result in general chaos and massive suffering on a regular basis. People are more important than economic ideological purity.

All of which would result in economic collapse. The gold standard went away because it wasn’t working anymore. Banks going bankrupt will impoverish millions, even without the rest. And foreign investment and trade with the US would crater as every nation on Earth ran away screaming from a nation bent on economic suicide.

In other words, you want to produce millions of people who will never be exposed to unapproved ideas. Millions who will be taught in school that
God wants them to kill the Jews, kill the blacks, enslave women, or wants them to buy Pepsi, depending on who funds the school in question. You are, unsurprisingly engaging in the standard libertarian fantasy of pretending that the government is the only threat to freedom.

It would create major casualties as people sicked and died from unsafe products and services. And further hurt American trade as foreigners refused to buy anything American. I’d say that it would hurt the consumption side of the American economy as well because Americans would try to buy safer, better foreign products; but I’m not sure other countries would accept American money after your other “reforms”.

In other words, mass death. Plagues, poisoned and ineffective “medicines”, and the impoverished dying with no help at all. Just like the good old days, before the government programs and regulations you hate were put into place.

In other words, the wealthy and selfish should be allowed to play parasite. They should be allowed to take and take and never give anything in return, even if the result is the collapse of society.

And I find it significant that you ignore the fact that taxes pay for things that liberals don’t like either.

Because what you are advocating is an evil society, not a “just and equitable” one. Or at least, it would be evil right up until it collapsed into a failed state and anarchy.

It represents the recognition that that’s the only method that has ever worked. It recognizes that personal freedom exists primarily because the government ensures that it does. And it recognizes that the fact that such strategies to protect freedom by weakening the government are doomed to fail, both because they ignore non-governmental dangers to freedom, and because they ignore the fact that a government weak enough that it can’t threaten freedom is too weak to do anything at all. In other words, anarchy and warlordism; a government that lacks the power to be a tyranny also lacks the power to prevent other groups from making themselves into tyrants.

No. They were slaveowning genocidal vermin.

Garbage. They don’t need the government to force people to work under horrible conditions, to defraud people, to form monopolies and other exploitative arraignments, or to have people they don’t like murdered; they need the government to keep them from doing so.

Not to mention lies, coercion, manipulation, bribes, and outright force (including various forms of slavery). Unless that is you have a government willing and able to force civilized behavior.

Government is what holds society together, it defends freedom, produces stability. There’s a reason why “failed state” is a synonym for “hellhole”. Government uses force and the threat of force because that is the only way to maintain order, and to keep the levels of forced used in society to a minimum.

During the Gilded Age?! Don’t be ridiculous. It was far worse; they didn’t have a government willing and able to do much to protect the populace, or maintain economic stability.

You have nothing to back your baseless accusations. Exactly how would a Constitutional government collapse? As far as a government ignoring the law and running out of control, I think you described our current government, not the one I am talking about. It is the peoples job to ensure that the government follows the Constitution and the rule of law. If the people are not vigilant, they will get bad government. You still haven’t responded to this point: Why couldn’t local, state governments pick up the slack and do similar programs and initiatives to that of our Federal Government, except with more understanding of the needs of the people of that state? Do you reject the notion that local government is better and more responsive government?

Again, you really must be truly ignorant of basic economics if you believe that. Its called personal responsibility. The only way capitalism works is if bad businesses fail. I’m talking especially about the Wall Street firms and giant corporations. They are big and powerful because we always bailed them out, they continued making mistakes and got even bigger.

Why steal from the middle class to allow some scum Wall Street Fat Cat to keep his Yacht? Should I assume you supported the bailouts? How did that help the economy? Its also a matter of fairness. Do you honestly believe a governments role is to pick winners and losers in the market? This breeds corruption and corporate influence and control of our government. I want government and business to be separate entities entirely.

Nonsense. Our current Keynesian, Fiat money system has lead to economic collapse. The Gold Standard “went away” because greedy banks and ambitious politicians didn’t want to have any limits to their power, not because it somehow hurt the economy. What do you have against honest money that maintains its value? Do you like having money that is continually debased year after year? One thing you should learn, if you ever get around to actually learning some economics is that fiat banking systems always end in the destruction of the currency. It is inevitable. If there is no restraint on the ability to print money to fund anything, they print too much causing hyperinflation and the complete destruction of their society. Many economists and trends forecasters see this coming within a few years. That is economic suicide.

The government is NOT the only threat to freedom. I never claimed it is. Why wont you admit it is A threat to freedom (one of many)? Do you think our public education system is working out well and producing a highly intelligent population capable of critical thinking? Neither do I. I went to a private school in high school and got a tremendous education. I want more people to be able to get that kind of education. You point out that some schools could teach things that would be bad. First of all, nobody is going to be allowed to teach that its okay to commit violence on anybody. That is against the law, that should be obvious. But in terms of the curriculum, vastly different approaches could be taken to education fitting the needs of the students. For example, in the private school I went to, we didn’t have five periods every day of 50 minutes or so. We had a scattered schedule where Mondays and Wednesdays we had three periods of an hour and a half and on Tuesday and Thursday, we had three periods of different subjects. Then on Fridays we had all classes shortened to about 50 minutes. This allowed us to really delve into subjects more thoroughly and learn more.

Why not leave education to local governments? Why do we need the Department of Education? Shouldn’t parents have a say in their kids education? Some may choose to have things like prayer in school, for example. I don’t personally approve of this, but in a Free country in a religious part of the country, people should be allowed to do this. Education and literacy rates would shoot through the roof if we followed through on my reforms of the education system.

By the way, what is your opinion on School Vouchers? Say an unrestricted Voucher worth $7000 a year to send a kid to any private school a parent chooses. Would you approve of this or not?

Okay, this is one of the major things advocates of big government claim, that we need the Federal government to inspect products to ensure they are safe. What if the government just gave “recommendations” of product safety but could not ban products and services outright? Obviously if someone was selling something that was blatantly unsafe and cause serious illness or death, people have recourse and the people responsible can be put in jail for their negligence. But the Federal Government can (and does) ban products that are perfectly safe because of pressure from a certain industry or lobby. For example, the FDA has banned many proven medical treatments used in other countries because they cut in on a drug companies profits. Don’t assume that the government is simply working in our interests.

All Fraud and knowing contamination of a product should be illegal and there should be consequences to doing so. But I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about the 160,000 pages of federal regulation that is killing small business and driving our manufacturing base overseas. If you know anyone who has tried to start a small business, ask them what kind of hoops they have to jump through just to get off the ground. We need an economic recovery, we need to start producing things again, and we need an increased productive capacity. We should start by removing so many of these harmful, ineffective regulations that restrict free enterprise.

And honestly, why would anybody looking to make a profit and be successful have any incentive to put out unsafe products and services? And what exactly are unsafe products and services? Apart from Food and Drug products, I fail to see how most small business would be a major threat if we didn’t have federal regulators coming down hard with repressive regulations.

Bullshit. If we DON’T reform and phase out Medicare and Medicaid they will end on their own due to fiscal reality setting in. We cannot possibly afford it looking into the future. So a complete collapse of the system is worse than an orderly transition towards private options, Right?

Why don’t you point to any evidence to support Plagues and Mass Death occurring before Medicare was enacted? Why not look to local help, charity hospitals, any emergency room will take anybody who is sick and dying. Nobody is going to be thrown out on the streets. It just displays a tremendous lack of imagination to think that we couldn’t have a working society any other way than supporting the current Welfare State.

I do agree that taxes pay for things liberals don’t like also. Like the Iraq War. I don’t understand this statement, “The wealthy and selfish should be allowed to play parasite.” What? If a person makes their money by gaming the system, or through fraud or other unethical means, then we should remove their ability to “play the game”. If a person makes their money honestly through hard work and entrepreneurship then they should be able to keep the fruits of their labor. They shouldn’t have their money stolen to give to some politically favored cause. This is called “Economic liberty”. Why do you want to punish those who are successful? I agree with the corporatism and the banks and insiders, but what about the honest, successful businessman? If we had a Constitutional government, ALL business would only be able to make profits in an honest and ethical manner. It is the only fair and just system.

A society based on the principles of individual liberty, peace, and persuasion and voluntary cooperation, rather than one base on coercion, violence, endless wars and wealth transfers, is an evil society? I think the latter is the “evil” society. As far as a collapsing and failing state, don’t you see that that is what we have currently? Our current system of government is failing us. You may not like my ideas for reform, but we must change something. Why don’t you tell me what your own ideas for reform are?

Your second sentence is agree with. Governments primary obligation is to protect personal freedom. Again, I fail to see how other entities have even remotely the same ability to be a threat to liberty as does the government. If the government were small and limited to the Constitution, it would imply that its job would be to prevent attacks on liberty from all sources. Its job would be to enforce contracts, prosecute Fraud and corporate crime, maintain the peace, preventing any and all violence. What are the other threats to liberty and how would a limited Constitutional government facilitate their ability to become tyrannical?

Wow, okay. So, should we just get rid of the Constitution and Bill of Rights entirely? Do you reject all their ideas and philosophy on liberty? If American didn’t become great due to the ideas of the Founders, what do you think made America great? It is a common insinuation that because some of the Founders owned slaves we should disregard everything that they wrote about and trash their names. This illustrates a profound ignorance of history. Most of the Founding Fathers were very much against slavery. But, it was an enduring social construct that so many of the colonists were not willing to give up. If the Founders tried to eliminate slavery at the time of the Revolution, we would not have a country. But their sympathies lied with eliminating slavery. Following the Revolution there were many peaceful efforts to repeal slavery and make it illegal. Here are some quotes from the Founders about slavery:

“I can only say that there is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do to see a plan adopted for the abolition of it [slavery].”
-George Washington

“My opinion against it [slavery] has always been known… Never in my life did I own a slave.”
-John Adams

“Why keep alive the question of slavery? It is admitted by all to be a great evil.” -Charles Carroll
The vast majority of Founders opposed slavery based on deeply moral and religious reasons. Just because they were not able to abolish slavery at the time of the Revolution is no reason to trash their views and philosophic arguments for liberty.

Honestly, read some history and inform yourself a little better before you embarrass yourself in public.

The government CAN prevent them from doing these things, but it frequently doesn’t. Do you dispute that our Federal government has been taken over in many ways by lobbyists, bankers, military contractors, and corporate leaders? By the way, in what alternate reality are you living in that would lead you to believe that if my reforms were implemented, would it be okay for corporations to have people they don’t like murdered? Natural monopolies are quite rare. Most monopolies are the product of lobbying for government to hurt a corporations competitors thus granting a monopoly. Fraud should be illegal. Nobody is forced to work under horrible conditions. A person is free to seek employment wherever they like.

As far as monopolies are concerned, read this “The myth of Natural Monopoly” by Thomas DiLorenzo,

You know absolutely nothing about a Free Market and how its supposed to function. Coercion and outright force (including various forms of slavery) cannot occur in a Free Market. A Free Market works like this. A business tries to persuade me to buy a product of service, showing me how it will improve my life. I can either voluntarily choose to purchase that product or politely refuse and go about my day. That is the extent of it. A Free Market can also be described as Economic Liberty. That is people should be able to keep the money they earn and spend it any way they see fit, as long as they don’t harm anybody else.

By the way, since you keep mentioning all the harm caused by freedom in a society, you should know about the libertarian concept of the non aggression principle. From Wikipedia,

“The principle of non-aggression exists in various forms in the faith traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as well as Eastern philosophies such as Taoism.[2] It holds that “aggression”, which is defined as the initiation of physical force, the threat of such, or fraud upon persons or their property, is inherently illegitimate. In contrast to pacifism, the non-aggression principle does not preclude defense.”

Therefore my society is based on the only fair and non violent system of government that there is. All actions are voluntary and nobody has the right to infringe on another persons liberties.

On your first sentence, I agree. A constitutional system of government holds society together, defends freedom, and produces stability. Anything beyond that necessarily is an attack on liberty. Government can use force only to respond to the use of force in an attempt to bring justice. It cannot initiate force in a just and fair society that beliefs in freedom.

How was it far worse? There were recessions in the 19th century, to be sure, but nothing even approaching what we are experiencing now. Corporate power has expanded drastically. Okay, think about the military contractors and the corruption of the Military Industrial Complex, the Drug Companies and Health Insurance companies who have taken over our health care system, the Banks and financial institutions that have become exceedingly wealthy due to trading derivatives and brought our economy to the brink, and the big Agriculture companies than own and produce nearly all food due to government favoritism (The Department of Agriculture is just corporate welfare for the well connected farmers). Not to mention the monetary system which necessitates a continual wealth transfer from the poor and middle class to the wealthy. Yes, I stand by that statement that corporate greed and abuse is worse now than in the 19th century. Even if I am wrong, your argument for a strong central government protecting the people from the Corporations is not exactly working out to well, wouldn’t you agree? They haven’t prevented corporate crime and abuse, nor have they done anything about the growing gap between the rich and poor in this nation. Why do you think Corporatism is so prevalent today, if it is not facilitated by a powerful Federal Government?

Hello, jrodefeld.

I’m thankful for your thread; I thought of starting a thread with the title “What do libertarians believe?”, so you’ve answered my unspoken request!

I would need more specific answers to understand your views. Let me start with these questions:
[ul][li]What do you think of antitrust laws?[/li][li]I guess you approve of import tariffs, right?[/li][li]How about progressive income tax?[/li][li]Do you really oppose all mandatory vaccinations? You do realize smallpox would not then be extinct, right?[/li][/ul]

Very often the devil is in the details. I see you oppose “unnecessary screening at airports.” I think most of us would agree with you there; and we’d probably also agree that “necessary screening” is good. I also think non-libertarians and libertarians can agree that government would benefit from improved competence. (Sadly, one of the reasons for some sillinesses is deliberate GOP sabotage aimed at making Americans hate government.)

Approving of “Liberty” sure sounds good, but it sure leads to ambiguity. Your liberty to carry a gun impacts my liberty to feel safe on the streets. Your liberty to litter impacts my liberty to enjoy clean parks. Etc.

School vouchers might be a good example to pursue. In principle, I like solutions based on free market and free choice and agree that vouchers sound good on paper. Unfortunately, when you examine the real-world details, you find that vouchers will, on balance, hasten the deterioration of public schools’ competence, and thus act opposite to a major goal of public education: helping the lower class rise through education.

Finally, some of your argumentation seems dogmatic. One might argue for or against gun control, but to base one’s argument solely on the happenstance of the 2nd Amendment is to impute an almost-divine status to the Founding Fathers!

Libertarians are the “useful idiots” of corporatism. The provide ideological cover for the cruelty and waste of unfettered capitalism, just as the Western “fellow travelers” of the 1930’s provided ideological cover for the barbarism of the Soviet Union.

As Der Trihs pointed out, your fundamental mistake is believing that the only threat to freedom is governmental. In reality, rich individuals and corporations can and will screw you over at every opportunity unless government provides an effective counterweight to their power. They’d be fools not to. Screwing you over is, after all, very, very profitable.

The libertarian vision of society is an adolescent fantasy. Its simplicity and purity allows the participant to indulge in unjustified feelings of mastery. “I know how the world works! I’m a player. My destiny is mine to command!” The fantasy allows the libertarian to avoid confronting the ugly reality: That his health and prosperity are largely dependent upon the whims of rich and powerful entities that he will never understand or control. And that his only defense against getting screwed over and abused is to band together with others in the same boat and force the powerful to treat them with decency and respect.

It’s hard to give up that fantasy life, particularly when the relative freedom and prosperity we do enjoy (if you’re lucky enough to be in the middle class) make it easy to sustain. But Batman and Superman aren’t real. There are no John Galts. You can choose to be a free adult, recognize your limited power for individual action, and band together with others to protect yourself from the forces of oppression and exploitation. Or you can choose to be a lackey, mouthing pretty words to cover the predations of your masters, while hoping they occasionally throw a scrap your way.

Because it would take decades to adapt to changing circumstances, if it could at all.

Because they wouldn’t have the power or money to do so. And because they would be more dominated by narrow interests.

Yes. It’s much easier for a single corporation or even a powerful individual to dominate a smaller government.

Which is an noble sounding way of saying “sociopathy”.

It prevented a larger collapse.

If necessary. There’s nothing particularly sacred about the free market.

No; removing regulations - like you want - led to the present mess.

Pure garbage. Money based on the gold standard isn’t more honest; it’s just crippled, unable to increase in amount as the economy needs. Nor are fiat monetary systems any less “honest” than gold based ones, nor do they represent real wealth any worse; better if anything since they aren’t tied to a largely useless chunk of metal. Nor do they inevitably lead to the destruction of anything.

No, it’s just imaginary.

Because it is also the only real defense of freedom.

Better than some network of madrasas or the corporate equivalent would.

Nonsense. They would crash, as kids were carefully left as ignorant as possible to be better propaganda fodder. Local governments, as I said are more likely to be the pawn of local interests; a church, a hate group, a corporation, some rich guy. And no, parents should not be allowed to force their religion on people, or single out unbelievers for terrorization; and that’s what prayer in school amounts to.

No, it’s just a scam to undercut public schools at best. First, existing private schools would just raise their price by $7000. Then, a horde of scam schools would arise, taking the money while providing no meaningful education. Then, when and if the parents realized this, the public schools would be forced to take on all those mis-educated children again - with less money to do it, since they get money allocated on how many students they have.

Then you’d have lots of dead people.

Because that’s the fastest way to make a profit. Cut corners.

Fires from poor insulation, poisonous products, poor fire and disaster preparation, and so on. You are ignoring that such regulations were created in the first place because of all the harm businesses were causing.

Garbage. The “private option” is a right wing fantasy; it doesn’t work, which is why every other civilized country has gone the other way. “Fiscal reality” is that government does it better.

Of course they will. Charity hospitals don’t have the capacity, and ERs are already overloaded thanks to our capitalist obsession with private medicine.

Garbage; you want a weak government, which means you want a society of predators and victims.

The rich primarily got that way because of the people who work for them, because they inherited it, by being ruthless, by having connections, and luck. Hard work has little to do with it. Nor is it healthy for a society for nearly all wealth to end up in the hands to the very rich, with little left for the rest of the population. That’s why they need to be taxed; to maintain social stability, and to make them pay their fair share in upkeeping the society that made their position possible at all.

You simply want to create a society ruled by the fanatic and the rich, where the less fortunate are left to die. Yes, that’s evil. You may not say that’s what you want, you might even believe it; but then the Communists didn’t say they wanted Stalin and Mao either.

We should go towards the left, not the right. Single payer UHC, stronger separation between church and state, greater regulation of corporations and stronger social safety net; that sort of thing.

Don’t be silly. Three armed guys can take away your liberty easily, without a government to stop them.

Corporations, religious groups, the rich; any group with more money or power than you have. And a “limited Constitutional government” would be too weak to do much of anything, including protect anyone’s freedom. Not to mention too slow,since it would takes them years or decades to change the law by Amendments alone. Assuming they even can.

I’m more concerned with ideals right now, not those of 200 year dead slime. I approve of racial and gender equality, to pick two obvious ideals they would have opposed.

Genocide and being isolated from competition, mostly. Not that I consider America to be “great” in any sense of the word beyond “powerful”. America is not particularly free or fair or noble or otherwise virtuous. It’s just powerful and rich.

Then we shouldn’t have had a country.

It’s called “history”. That’s how corporations behave when the leash is let off.

Monopolies are the norm, natural or not; the natural endpoint of capitalism unless a government steps it to stop it with antitrust laws and such.

Now. Because otherwise the government would prevent it.

To the extent that is true, it’s because government prevents it.

Because the government partially prevents monopolies, blacklisting and so on.

No. This is a free market. You want to buy something; you are told a price you can barely pay and survive. When you try to buy somewhere else, you find that the prices are all fixed because of agreements among the sellers, or because there is only one. When you complain too much, you end up fired and no one will hire you because you are blacklisted. If you still make a scene some corporate thug caves your skull in. That’s how it worked in the good old days you want to bring back.

Economic freedom requires a great deal of regulation and a strong safety net; not the law of the jungle.

No, it’s an attempt to create corporate feudalism, not freedom. Sure libertarians claim to oppose violence; because they also want to eliminate all the non violent methods ordinary people have of protecting themselves. They want to remove all recourse, all hope, all freedom from the common people.

Because the government, influenced by people like you is refusing to do anything to stop it.

I’m going to quote you a bit out of order, because it makes it easier to explain why I disagree with you. Hopefully I don’t butcher what I think you were trying to get across.

You’ve apparently never heard of the Sherman AntiTrust Act enacted in 1890. The 19th century was all about concentrating economic and poltitical power in the hands of a very few wealthy indviduals.

And it didn’t end in 1890. Teddy Roosevelt ran on a platform of Trust Busting when he was elected in 1904. And the granddaddy of them all, Standard Oil, didn’t fall until 1911.

Er, no. Just no. There were no child labor laws in the 1800s and they were slow in coming. In 1810 children were working 50-70 hours a week for little pay and in terrible conditions. It wasn’t until 1935 that the US as a whole had child labor laws. Death rates for children were extremely high in the 1800s.

There were no set hours for workers. You worked whatever your boss told you, no overtime. No minimum wage and business were indeed working together to keep wages low. Asking for a raise would get you fired.

Great Britain legalized labor unions in 1825, but holding meeting to seek better hours and wages was punishable as conspiracy until 1871. The Fair Labor Standards Act in the US (which set minimum wage and overtime pay) wasn’t until 1938.

The first workers’ compensation laws for people injured on the job in the US were passed in Maryland in 1902. Before then if you were injured on the job tough luck; no benefits, no income, and soon you’d be out on the street.

All in all, the 19th century was a downright shitty time to be employed.

You’re trying to argue for an all or nothing situation. It isn’t. Regulation isn’t perfect. It’s just better than the alternative.

They have. Do you work 40 hours and get overtime pay? Do you get a fair wage? Do your children attend elementary school instead of working 70 hours a week? Do you have all your limbs? If you answered yes to any of those be glad you aren’t living in your dream era of the 19th century.

The problem with Libertarianism is the exact same problem that Communism has. People are bastards. Both look good on paper until you realize that it requires people to give some small thought about the needs of other people over their own. We have thousands of years of history to show that this is simply not possible on any sort of large scale.

Instead businesses will cut costs in order to reduce overhead any way they can. Whether it’s by poor safety in the workplace or lead paint in toys, it’s all about profit margin.

Progressives, conservatives, and independents. The good, the bad, and the smugly irrelevant.

Hey, glad to help! I feel that libertarian belief has expanded exponentially in popularity in the last couple of years and I think it deserves fair consideration as a viable form of governance. Given that obviously what we have been doing for a while is not exactly working out too well, people are looking for alternatives. We certainly haven’t had anything close to a libertarian society in most of our lifetimes. I think of America as a sports team that has had multiple losing seasons. As any good coach would do, I think the proper way to approach the problem would be to get back to basics, reform the system by once again acknowledging the ideals of liberty that made America great, getting back in shape by trimming the excess from our federal government and following the rulebook (the Constitution) in an effort to get back on the winning track.

After we are able to balance the budget and achieve fiscal sustainability for a few years, we can think about whether we want to again embark on the path of big government. My feeling is, we will be so prosperous and have such an increase in quality of life we wouldn’t want to go down that path again.

I am very sympathetic to the goals of Anti Trust laws, that is to preserve competition by regulating anti competitive conduct. I think in practice, many anti trust laws do not work the way they are intended. See the following link:

So, I support Anti Trust policy that stops predatory oppressive practices that interfere with the Free Market.

Absolutely. In fact I could see our government funding its actions solely through excise taxes, import tariffs and other means which would allow us to get rid of the personal income tax. Obviously, if we had a smaller, Constitutional government, we would need far less funding. I like the idea of allowing all workers to keep all their income. Even if we had a National Sales Tax in substitution for the income tax it would be much better, though I feel we could have neither.

I am sympathetic to the idea, but I would prefer if we eliminated the need for an income tax entirely. I would not object too strongly if we had a progressive income tax, however.

Every time I mention anything about Vaccines people bring up all the diseases that were supposedly wiped out because of them. I think Vaccines can have a place. But vaccines are not entirely safe, and there is emerging evidence that vaccines are actually causing more illness than they are curing.

I never get vaccinated and I never get sick. I eat well and exercise. I prefer to build up immunity by naturally strengthening my immune system through supplementation rather than by injecting live virus into my body. Vaccines have mercury, squaline, adjuvants and many toxic and harmful substances in them. There is much evidence that Vaccines are not as safe as we are told. So, I do oppose mandatory vaccinations. If you are okay with having the government mandate that entire populations be injected with toxic substances, then I think you have way too much trust in the government.

I don’t think it is the governments job to make airplanes safe. I think the individual airlines should be the ones tasked with protecting their passengers. They have every right to screen suspicious persons if there is legitimate reason to think they could be a threat. Most people should not be stopped at all. No full body scans for children and the elderly, stop stealing our toothpaste and harassing us. The airlines should single out those passengers most likely to be a threat and examine them more carefully. This should be sufficient to keep the airlines safe.

I always thought the value of school vouchers would be to give lower class kids the ability to go to private schools and avoid the bad public schools in their district. The rich kids already go to private school. At least many of them do. Why not allow the poorer kids or those forced to live in a lousy school district to opt out and go to the same schools the rich kids get to go to? As far as hurting private schools, maybe it would encourage them to get their act together and improve. Giving parents a choice for the education of their kids no matter their income would be great.

Well, I do think there is a very good reason the Founders considered the second amendment one of the most important rights we have. I don’t own a gun, but I recognize my right to own a gun is one of the last protectors against a tyrannical government. I do recognize that some proponents of Gun Control feel that their views are consistent with the 2nd Amendment. I just don’t think gun control is effective anyway, so I don’t support those views.

Care to contribute something meaningful to the discussion?

Your article fails to mention how you will keep a monopoly or deregulated company from price-gouging or cutting costs. It continues the belief that the people who own a corporation are more interested in social justice then turning a profit. Specifically:

He’s right in that it would be comforting if businesses operated that way in the real world. Too bad they rarely do.

If you had a monopoly and could increase your profit while decreasing your overhead you’d take it. The easiest way would be via cutting expenses such as employee benefits, relaxed safety and health standards, and decreased product quality. As long people have no alternative to buying your product you can save a lot of money. China does this. How do you like their product standards? How do you protect workers at all without any safeguards in place?

And

Doesn’t this assume that all businesses have zero start up costs? Look at the oil industry. It has extreme start up costs, but once it’s running it has enourmous profits. Say Exxon Mobile gains a monopoly. It’d be more efficient. Is the price of gas now whatever they say it is? Would you want to bet they wouldn’t price gouge? Do you think that anyone could afford the start up cost as a competitor, especially with Exxon Mobile doing all it could to protect it’s monopoly?

This is a complete topic shift, but the CDC, UK National Health Service, and Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences all disagree with you.

You will want to look up herd immunity, holistic medcine, and (most importantly for the premise of this thread) how much money is saved on health care through the use of vaccines. Also, the plural of anecdote (your personal experience) does not equal data.

Why are children and the elderly exempt? They can carry items through as well. Old people have a lot less life to lose in a suicide attack and kids will carry what they’re told without knowing what it is. Please provide an example of a non-rascist, non-bigoted way to determine high risk individuals.

You first. Age before beauty, pearls before swine. Wait, swine before pearls! Aw,shit!

Ah, an antivaxer as well as a goldbug. What next? Denouncing evolution? Claiming the lizard people were behind 9-11? How about the moon landings being a hoax? That’s a good one.

And as for why; because it works, because your nonsense about vaccines being toxic is, yes, nonsense; and because you endanger others by decreasing the immunity of the group. Typical libertarian amorality and selfishness.

And if they decide to save money by not trying, so what? Human life is nothing compared to corporate freedom, right?

And what makes you think the private school won’t just say “go away”? Such schemes always are based on the delusion that if you just give out vouchers, suddenly those exclusive private schools will accept the children of the poor. They won’t; they’ll just raise their tuition by the amount of the voucher and tell any lower class person who applies to shut up and stay away from their betters. At best, those poor kids will end up with some quickly thrown together “school” which is primarily there to extract that voucher money from them.

It’s no protection from tyranny whatsoever; plenty of tyrannies let their citizens arm themselves. Because they know it doesn’t protect freedom; both because an army can easily squash a bunch of guys with rifles, and because the armed citizenry is at least as likely to fight for the tyrants, not against.

Thanks for your replies, jrodefeld. Just two more comments.

This is the one comment you didn’t address, perhaps because mine is not a well-posed question. Yet it is the big reason I can’t take “libertarianism” seriously. Your liberty to operate an unregulated butcher shop conflicts with my liberty to eat meat without worry. Your liberty to not vaccinate your kids conflicts with my liberty to let my too-young-to-vaccinate kid mingle without fear of contracting rubella. Etc. etc.

My other comment is this: As we explore the details your answers often take the form: “I approve of good government regulations, but disapprove of the stupid government regulations we have today.” Most of us would agree with that; the difficulty is agreeing on which regulations are good, which stupid. The fact that you oppose mandatory vaccinations and oppose central banks setting interest rates suggests, frankly, that your views have been tainted by conspiracy-theory quackery.

This specific “useful idiot” has read more economics and US history in the past five years than you probably have in your lifetime. You should be careful about casting aspersions on those you know little about. There is a long line of distinguished Economists and Intellectuals who back my positions on these issues. It has long been established in Academia that Capitalism, for all its faults, is by far the best of many worse alternatives. Communism fails, socialism always fails eventually, and all other centrally planned economies fail under their own weight.

Are you saying capitalism is a bad system? Don’t you see that if a company becomes successful creating a product that improves the lives of everyone, it lifts the standards of living of all americans? The internet revolution, computers, HDTVs, cell phones, cars, the music industry, and most appliances in our kitchens are all the product of Capitalism. Corporatism is a completely different system from free market capitalism. Corporatism is what we have now. The abuse you are talking about is due to Corporatism, that is corporate lobbyists taking over government to get the most loot from the American taxpayer. Halliburton, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Blackwater, the Health Insurance Industry, and the Drug Companies are all the result of Corporatism. There is a MAJOR difference, one in which you fail to acknowledge.

I believe Free Enterprise is the engine of human progress. When you stifle the creative energies of the free market through excess regulation, you hurt everybody. The cruelty and waste that you describe is due to Corporatism, not Free Enterprise.

Will you acknowledge that government IS a threat to liberty? I don’t believe it is the only threat, but it is the most significant. Screwing over potential customers is very profitable? Are you crazy? Corporations can get away with that now because they are protected from bankruptcy. A system of privatized profits and socialized loses (Corporatism) takes away the fear of bankruptcy that keeps business honest. In a free market (which we DON’T have currently or in the recent past) consumers are king. Business is looking to make a profit, you are right about that. But they have to serve the public! If they continually screw people over, they lose business or go bankrupt. This is the mechanism by which corporations are kept honest.

Put yourself in the position of a small businessman. You have the option of providing a really good service or product, treating people with respect and build a loyal base of customers. Or you could, as you say, screw over your customers seeking to make more short term profits. Which would make the most sense? Obviously the former. Treating people well and providing good service will end up being more profitable in the long run. I know many people who own businesses, by the way, and they all strive to serve their customers well and act ethically.

I will grant you that there will still be exceptions and some corporations will treat people poorly. But over the long term this will prove to be a poor business strategy. And any sane person will have no difficulty in avoiding contact with corporations that have unsound and unethical business practices.

I don’t actually disagree with what you wrote. I think there will always be people who band together to take advantage of other people. The goal is to keep this to a minimum. That is what a Libertarian society strives to do. But if those “powerful” people are unable to use force and coercion to achieve their ends, what threat could they possibly be? If corporations or any group of people, for that matter, colludes in secret to screw over other groups of people by former cartels, buying off politicians or otherwise tilting the tables in their favor, the society ceases to be a libertarian one or a free market, and becomes an authoritarian society. This is what I am objecting to. To ensure this doesn’t happen it requires an ever vigilant public who is ready to resist any effort to abandon liberty. To avoid this happening, we have a constitution and bill of rights which protect our freedom.

If you disagree with me, why don’t you come out and advocate for getting rid of the Constitution? Liberty is the ideal that we should strive for. Just because we rarely are able to achieve that ideal, makes it no less of a noble pursuit. As you said, powerful people are constantly threatening those liberties.

Lets talk about the system of government we currently have, not my “fantasy life”, as you put it. How is it working out for us? With a very powerful Federal Government with no restraint, are they doing a good job protecting us from Corporatism? If we assume that government’s job is to provide an effective “counterweight” to the power of corporatism, can we agree they have failed miserably in their efforts?

You can criticize my ideas for reform, but you must admit that a libertarian society is one that hasn’t been tried in a very long time. Why not at least be willing to give it a chance? A society based on individual liberty is very rare throughout history. Lets, for once, try the noble and moral thing, and attempt true reform.

I’ve gone first, I created this thread and have made my opinions pretty clear. If you have any comments, I would be happy to respond. I’m 25, by the way.

Oh boy.

Oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy.

This is one paragraph. I’m just going to deal with the one. And it is absolute codswallop, beginning to end, wrong-headed on so many levels, it’s a real trial to sift through. I would personally have trouble fitting more factual inaccuracies and irrelevancies into the same amount of space, even if I were deliberately trying.

1) People can already trade gold and silver for goods and services, if they so wish. The government isn’t stopping them. The government wants its taxes denominated in genuine green US dollars, but there are places to purchase and transfer electronic money “backed” by precious metals like gold, like the site “e-gold”. All debts, public and private, are apparently payable with dollars, at least according to the old dead white guys on my nifty little pieces of green paper. Okay, then. Make sure nobody gets in your debt. Demand contractually in advance that the transaction will be in gold. Voila. Problem solved.

2) People can already put their savings in precious metals and other commodities. The primary purpose of a currency is not as a store of value. Currency is our meterstick of comparison, and our medium of exchange. Those are the important ones. There is no need for it to hold its value over truly long time periods. If you don’t want your savings to get eaten away by inflation, then don’t keep your savings in currency. Simple. Direct. So easy a child could understand. There is no point at all in empty whinging about the declining value of savings, when there is not, nor has there ever been, any requirement that you keep you savings in US dollars. There are real costs associated with an inflating currency, which people who actually have studied economics should know about. Shoeleather costs of money management is one of them, but that’s only a serious problem in hyperinflationary situations. The essential act of savings is not bothered in the slightest by a little inflation, if you don’t want it to be.

3) There is nothing in the constitution about the Treasury having the Fed’s powers. Kinda self explanatory, that one. The constitution can’t possibly demand that the Fed’s powers, including printing money, be given to Treasury. The Treasury’s only mentioned three times, from what I can tell, once for taxation, once for Congressional compensation, and once to say, hey, no taking any money from it without a record. It’s actually Congress that has the power “To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin”. And the Federal Reserve is the manifestation of that power. Congress created the Fed, and they could potentially unmake it as well. In which case, the power to coin money would not necessarily devolve to Treasury, but rather would devolve to whatever new institution Congress chose.

This is one of the points that goldbugs always have a hard time understanding, so I’m going to repeat that with special emphasis and explication: If we destroy the Fed without replacing it with another similar institution, we do not eliminate the government’s power to create new money. Instead, we put that power even more directly in the hands of Congress. In other words, we put our printing presses directly in the hands of people, politicians, who must face re-election every two, or six, years. And this seems like a good idea for some reason?

4) We could not possibly back our currency with gold, or other any tangible commodity, without completely undermining our current price system in an excessively costly deflationary way. We can’t back our currency with gold, because gold isn’t valuable enough. The value of the all the US dollars out there exceeds the value of all the gold. In order to back our currency with gold (or anything else), the government would have to purchase reserves. In purchasing those reserves, the government would then be artificially bidding up the value of gold. The attempt to re-establish the gold standard would result in an unprecedented shift of wealth from US taxpayers to all holders of gold. And for what? To re-establish a standard that failed because of its instability? That leads me directly to my next point:

5) The gold standard is a stupid stupid stupid system. We dig a yellow metal out of a cave in the ground. We then build another, artificial cave in a place we call a “bank”. We then move the little yellow pieces of metal from one cave to another. We then print pieces of paper, and promise that we will supply the yellow metal out of our new man-made cave for anyone who has our pieces of paper. But the system only works, see, if no one wants to take the metal. If everyone would rather have the yellow metal than the paper, then the standard collapses. So in order for it to work, we must have that metal in the artificial cave be in such a way that it stays, perpetually, in that artificial cave. Doing nothing. If it were taken out of that cave, after all, it wouldn’t work. We’d just have gold currency, not a gold standard, which would quickly be abandoned because carrying around gold is a gigantic pain in the ass. So the yellow metal must sit in its new cave, gathering dust. Forever. That’s a functioning gold standard. I don’t want to discount the idea of a currency peg in all situations. It can work in some contexts. But reliance on the gold standard, for its own sake, is just dumb. It makes no bloody sense at all.

6) The Fed needs to “print money” in emergencies. Among professional economists, there are numerous topics of genuine disagreement. This is not one of those topics. If you take away the ability to expand the money supply at will, then you are dooming us to continually repeat the mistakes that caused the Great Depression. This is the view of everyone from hardcore libertarians like Milton Friedman to noted liberal economists like Paul Krugman. To deny this is to deny all of our modern economic theory and history.

It is reasonable to believe that the Fed should not act on their own discretion when printing money, but rather work within clearly established guidelines and rules, e.g. 5% annual nominal GDP growth. It is not reasonable to refuse to print money in the face of catastrophe. The Fed, remembering its mistakes so many years ago, kept us from reliving the Great Depression with its expansion of the US monetary base. They need to have that power, even if they do not necessary need complete discretionary freedom to print at whatever level they see fit.

And that was just one paragraph. Just about everything else in the OP was compete nonsense as well, but there are only so many hours in a day. But that makes this comment particularly special, in the olympic sense of that word:

A real peach of a comment.

I think your concerns are very reasonable. I see liberty as freedom from coercion. For example, if someone has a concealed weapon permit and carries a gun on the streets but doesn’t threaten anyone or imply the threat of violence, he has not infringed upon your liberty. Your example of an unregulated butcher shop, I think is misplaced. Lets assume that I don’t mind basic food safety regulations, do you feel more comfortable patronizing a business that is “approved” by the government? I don’t, but maybe thats just me. What if the government didn’t provide food safety regulations, but a trusted independent third party inspected the facility and approved it, would it matter to you? Wouldn’t the reputation of the butcher and your personal experience with them count for more than a government seal of approval?

That being said, I am not particularly bothered by very basic government health and food safety standards, though I think without them we would find other ways of determining food safety and we would be just fine.

Okay, lets say that the following types of regulations were kept in place: minimum wage laws, antitrust laws, basic food and drug safety regulations, and other regulations that you feel are sufficient to prevent the types of corporate abuse you think could occur. But then we did everything else I want, cutting all other extraneous regulations, limiting the Federal Government to its Constitutional functions and everything else that a Libertarian society entails. How would you feel about it then? I am sure you or I could determine very simple regulations that would prevent corporate crime, yet were a far cry from the 160,000 pages of regulation that currently exist, making sure that it didn’t affect small business.

As far as mandatory vaccinations are concerned, it is a far cry from acknowledging that the concept of the Vaccine is scientifically sound and studied, to believing that every vaccine given is necessary and safe. Some vaccines are created that make drug companies a lot of money, yet are unnecessary. Why should somebody need to get a vaccine to prevent a disease they are very, very unlikely to ever get? What about the Flu shot? If you are healthy you probably won’t get the Flu, but if you do you may feel tired and sick for three days then get better. There is no reason to vaccinate against the Flu. Legitimate questions are being raised about the necessity of giving children dozens of vaccines before they turn six years old. It is certainly not crazy to talk about this subject and take my position that vaccines are not needed for many people. Even Bill Maher, who I disagree with on many issues, agrees with me. From his show several months back:

So, it is not a crazy position to be against injecting children 36 times before they turn six years old. Look at the follow chart:

And we really don’t know the long term effects of giving kids (and people in general) this many vaccinations because we have only been doing it for a short period of time (at least this many vaccinations). We have to exercise some skepticism with regards to the need for these things, don’t you think? We can’t always just trust any man with a white jacket and a stethoscope.

As far as opposing central banks setting interest rates, what exactly is crazy about that position? Many esteemed economists, political scientists, and historians have endorsed my position. If a central bank (like the Federal Reserve) sets interest rates at artificial levels, then it sends the wrong signals to investors creating an artificial boom which must result in a corrective bust. When the Federal Reserve lowers interest rates to 1% or lower, it encourages borrowing, even if people are already broke. The market should set interest rates. When the Fed is continually manipulating the market it favors the well connected insiders who know the system. They make money on the way up AND on the way down. The little guy, meanwhile, suffers the most when, for example, the housing boom crashes and he loses his house.

Economists Ludwig von Mises, Nobel laureate F.A. Hayak and Henry Hazlitt all argued against artificial interest rates. Hayak won the Nobel prize for explaining the theory of the business cycle (how the Fed artificially set interest rates contributes to form a bubble which must ultimately crash later). So, I don’t know why you would insinuate that these views are somehow conspiracy quackery.

No, we wouldn’t, as history demonstrates. As libertarians typically do, you are ignoring the fact that such government regulation exists because private industry simply will not regulate itself. Your “trusted third party” would be nothing but a rubber stamp for the sellers; because no such party that didn’t always approve their product no matter how unsafe would be patronized by them. And that’s making the unlikely assumption that they actually would be a separate entity, and not just another branch of the corporation in question.

You may be sure of that; I, on the other hand am sure you are fooling yourself if you think that. Your simple regulations, being simple, will also be simple to evade or subvert.

You can be old, or otherwise vulnerable, or the strain going about could potentially be the next Spanish flu. So yes, there are reasons.

Yes, it is ignorant, crazy or outright evil to deny reality, take that position and endanger the lives of other people. You DO realize that before those vaccines children died on a regular basis from those diseases? And now thanks to people like you, those diseases are making a comeback. But as a libertarian you of course don’t care about the consequences of your actions to others.

We know that they are more likely to be alive long enough to HAVE long term consequences.

It is my choice not to get vaccinated. Why can you not accept my personal choice on this matter? Yeah being skeptical about vaccines is the same as denying evolution and “claiming the lizard people were behind 9-11”. Honestly you are truly ignorant of the facts on this issue. See my response to Septimus for further views on vaccines. By the way, there are increasing numbers of scientists who dispute the wisdom of giving people (especially children) the number of vaccines that we do.

You know, the Pharmaceutical industry is making a ton of money prescribing drugs for every illness under the sun. Many are unnecessary. Why wouldn’t they also be making money off of vaccines? Is it really so much of a stretch to think that they are pressuring us to get vaccines that we really don’t need?

By the way, I have never gotten vaccinated and I am healthier than anyone I know. I never get sick. If vaccines are so important, why are people sicker than ever before with all these new mandatory vaccines? Don’t you think this is an area of medicine the begs long term cost-benefit analysis?

Yeah, because it really saves money to allow their private plans to be hijacked and blown up. By the way, the risk of terrorism is ridiculously small. If a company chose not to screen ANYONE I wouldn’t think twice to fly on that airline. I just don’t want to be continually harassed by TSA people with a sixth grade education looking through all my things every time I fly.

By the way, I have to ask: Do you think all businessmen are inherently immoral and “evil”? You are almost borderline paranoid in your beliefs that any and all corporations and businesses exist solely to rape and plunder the american people and if left “unchecked” they will steal your women, burn down your house, and kill your dog. Obvious hyperbole aside, I believe there are many honest businessmen. I know a few of them personally. The ones I know really do want to serve people well and have a desire to give back to the community and are heavily involved in charity. There are certainly greedy and even “evil” businessmen, but they should be kept in check by a vigilant public and, yes, by a government who is willing to prosecute fraud and corporate crime.

If you see businessmen as inherently evil, why don’t you see politicians and many governments the same way? Certainly governments can steal and abuse and harass people, right? Why not extend your skepticism to government as well? What if our government has no interest in serving the people, but rather serving the interests of bankers, the politicians and their political contributers?

Some schools may turn them away. I would depend on the merits of each individual case. I went to an exclusive, expensive private school, but my parents aren’t rich at all. I was able to go there based on a scholarship and due to an interview I held with the headmaster. They don’t reject people based on income or class. It is based on a persons own qualifications and their willingness to work hard and achieve their potential.

Even if what you say is true, it would still gives kids a choice they didn’t have before. Why would you be against that?

Yeah, but the idea is that if a violent revolution were ever necessary, the public would be able to fight their oppressors. Why are you arguing this point? Do you not believe in the second amendment?